Health Educators Offer Tips from Cancer Screenings to Organ Donation at LMH Health Fair
Read Karrey Britt, LJWorld, story with photos here: http://bit.ly/pI1AKP
Lawrence resident Vernon Burkett was among more than 1,200 people who attended the annual health fair Saturday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
“It’s where all of the healthy people hang for one day a year,” the 56-year-old joked.
Not only did he enjoy catching up with neighbors and friends, but he did what health professionals encourage everyone to do — practice prevention. He had the following health screenings at the fair: Body Mass Index, blood pressure, hearing, height and weight measurement, oral cancer, vision, waist circumference, glucose, skin cancer, bone density and prostate.
Burkett didn’t share any results but said he considers himself fairly healthy.
“I can touch my toes,” he said, with a smile.
Aynsley Anderson, LMH community education coordinator, said the health fair has grown immensely during the past 30 years. This year, there were 30 educational exhibits and 16 screenings offered.
Here are some tips from a handful of medical care providers:
• Dr. Kathani Amin of Kansas Medical Clinic Dermatology — Everyone should get a skin cancer screening every year by a dermatologist and do a self examination once a month. Look for asymmetry, irregularity and color variation and watch moles that are larger than a pencil eraser. If there is anything changing, itching, bleeding or tender, seek professional help.
More than 700,000 Americans develop skin cancer every year.
“If you catch these things early, then they are preventable and curable. If you don’t then it could cause problems down the line,” she said.
When it comes to sunscreen, she advises people to use one with a Sun Protection Factor of 45 or higher and to apply it 30 minutes before going outside and then reapply every two hours if active. She said there’s no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen.
• Karin Denes-Collar of Heartland Community Health Center — With the holidays approaching, she encourages people to not over schedule themselves.
“Less is more sometimes,” she said. “That stressful time over the holidays can lead people to depression and anxiety — either during or after. So it’s an easy way to help yourself.”
She said about 70 percent of the health issues that show up in primary care, like diabetes or high blood pressure, are related to behavioral health issues like stress and depression. That’s why there is a big push nationwide to integrate the two into primary medical homes, like Heartland does.
• Paula Naughtin of Midwest Transplant Network — Learn about organ donation and then make your decision known to loved ones.
She said there are more than 100,000 people waiting for an organ, and one person can save up to eight people with organs and enhance up to 50 lives with tissue. “There’s a huge need for all of it,” she said.
If you want to become an organ donor, register online at donatelifekansas.com and talk to your family.
• Kelly Nightengale of Early Detection Works — Women should get a Pap test to check for an infection, abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer beginning at age 21 or three years after the onset of sexual intercourse. Cervical cancer does not show symptoms until it’s in advanced stages.
“I can’t stress enough that the best protection for cervical cancer is getting screened,” she said.
When cervical conditions are discovered and treated at a pre-cancerous stage, survival rate is nearly 100 percent. Yet 4,600 women die from cervical cancer each year in the U.S.
• Raymond Munoz of Douglas County Dental Clinic — Brush your teeth twice a day, at morning and night, and floss daily, preferably before you go to bed.
He said staff have seen people at the clinic who haven’t brushed their teeth in several weeks. When you don’t take care of your teeth, gum disease and cavities become painful and costly issues.
The clinic provides general dental care to children and adults who meet income guidelines and do not have dental insurance. It served 2,800 people last year.
While packing up, Anderson also offered advice: Get a medical home and have an annual wellness exam. She said it’s important to know your numbers when it comes to blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
“Oh, and don’t forget to follow general healthy lifestyle habits like not smoking, eating nutritiously, exercising and managing stress,” she said.
DID YOU KNOW?
Here are some facts that were revealed through a Health Challenge Questionnaire at Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s annual health fair on Saturday. Participants picked up forms and then had to find the answers at various exhibits.
Among the things they learned:
• Kansas has the fourth-fastest-growing obesity rate in the country.
• 21.7 percent of people are living below the poverty line in Douglas County.
• One in four adults experience a mental health disorder in a given year.
• 20 years ago, there were 500 calories in the average slice of pizza. Now there are 800.
• 18 percent of Douglas County residents eat the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
• The best way to extinguish a fire in a pan on the stove is to place a lid over the pan.
• A person who is 51 or older should not consume more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day.
• One in seven women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
• Open enrollment for 2012 Medicare Prescription Drug coverage begins Oct. 15.
• 50 percent of people over age 75 have a fall each year.